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A sportsperson (British and American English) or athlete (principally American English) is any person who participates regularly in a sport.

Athletes can be professional (paid) or amateur (unpaid). A superior athlete is one who has above average physical skills (strength, agility, and endurance) and is thus more suited for physical competition. An Ancient Greek word for "contest" was athlos, and those competing in early Greek games were called athletes.

Most professional athletes have particularly well-developed physiques obtained by extensive physical training and strict exercise accompanied by a strict dietary regimen.


Athlete and sportsperson can be used to refer to athletes of either sex, while sportsman and sportswoman refer to men and women, respectively.

Psychological studies of athletesEdit

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